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Register of the Records of



11.5 ft.

MSS 49


Carla Zimmerman

June 1986


Angelo and Rose Florey Fiorani operated two successive radio enterprises spanning over 40 years in Pennsylvania's anthracite region.  Beginning in 1933 they worked as "time brokers" and targeted Italian-Americans in the area.  In 1953, the Fioranis founded the Midway Broadcasting Company with its own separate station and attracted a broad, general audience.  In addition to radio broadcasting, Mr. and Mrs. Fiorani were active in such local organizations as the Scranton Civic Opera Guild, the Mothers' Assistance Fund, and the Victor Alfieri Literary Society.  The Fioranis and several other influential Italian-American families in Scranton attended St. Lucy's Roman Catholic Church, where Rose Fiorani's brothers, Monsignor Salvatore Florey and Reverend Myron Florey, were pastors.

They began business in 1933 under the name Italian Reveries Broadcasting Company in conjunction with Il Minatore Publishing Company.  After a disagreement with Lodovico Caminita, editor of Il Minatore and Italian language announcer of "The Italian Hour," Angelo Fiorani took over the operation and within a year changed the name to the Italo-American Broadcasting Company.  The Fiorani's bought airtime from station WGBI in Scranton, and resold time in half and quarter-hour allotments and "spot" announcements to companies selling products targeted for Italian-Americans in the region.  Their role as "time brokers" was the basis of the business for the first two decades.  Contracts with stations ran weekly or yearly, and the Fioranis picked up and dropped stations as business increased and declined.  At their peak in 1940, they had programs on three radio stations in Scranton (WGBI and WARM) and Hazelton (WAZL).

Asserting to sponsors that most Italian immigrants could not read or write Italian or English, the Fioranis maintained that Italian language radio was the best means to reach this consumer group.  The majority of the clients solicited were producers or importers of Italian foodstuffs.  During the first two decades, their musical programming, conducted live with their own orchestra, was targeted toward Italian-Americans.  Most commercial announcements, songs, and sketches were in Italian.  The Fioranis' fund-raising event, Italian-American festivals, trips to Rome and other areas in Italy, Italian movie presentations, and the Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour in 1949 were also conducted to appeal to their regional Italian-American audience.

The Fioranis operated their business out of their home in Scranton for the first seven years, then in 1940 rented an office in the Select Building in the same city.  In 1945, the company changed its name to Fiorani Radio Productions and, in the following year, moved to the Connell Building, where the business remained until 1953.  During this period daughters Rosemary and Eleanor participated as announcer and piano accompanist, respectively.  The Fioranis were described as "the only family with every member taking part in radio" (Program, Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour, 1949).

In 1953, Angelo and Rose Fiorani founded a larger venture, Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc.  They no longer bought and sold blocks of time but operated an entire station (WPTS).  Oriented toward a broad audience, WPTS was known as "The Family Station of Northeast Pennsylvania" and the "Golden Oldie" station.

While the station was located in Pittston (83 Foote Avenue, Duryea Borough), the Fioranis' home address (now 1000 Clay Avenue, Scranton) was still used on the letterhead, showing a continued orientation toward a family-run business.  Angelo was the general manager and president, and Rose was the commercial manager and treasurer.  When Angelo died in 1972, Rose became president and son-in-law Alphonse Castelli filled the position of general manager.  Eleanor Fiorani Castelli was the bookkeeper and accountant from 1958 to 1973.  Rosemary Fiorani Gallegher was the executive secretary and wrote copy and sold airtime.  The Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. continued as a viable business until January 1975.

The information in the following chronological outline is based on documents in the collection.  Some of the dates given are approximate, reflecting inconsistencies in dates used by the Fioranis.

1901 March 10:Angelo Fiorani was born in Tarquinia, Italy.  He came to America at age three or four.

1902 June 9:  Rose Florey was born in Scranton, Pa.

1925 June 14:  Angelo Fiorani and Rose Florey were married in St. Lucy's Roman Catholic Church, Scranton.

1926 August 17:  The Fioranis' first child, Eleanor, was born.

1931 January 18:  The Fioranis' second child, Rosemary, was born.

1933 March 19:  The Italian Reveries Broadcasting Company was founded in conjunction with Il Minatore Publishing Company, Inc.  Angelo Fiorani was the talent director, and Lodovico Caminita, editor of Il Minatore, was the Italian language announcer.  "The Italian Hour" aired Sundays, 9:00-10:00 p.m., on WGBI, Scranton.  The mailing address was 105 South Chestnut Avenue, Scranton, same as Il Minatore Publishing Company, Inc.  (After 1940, the broadcasting company used March 19, 1932 as its founding date.)

1933 June 1:  After a disagreement with Caminita, Fiorani took sole ownership of the company.  The business operated out of the Fioranis' home, 1125 St. Ann Street, Scranton.

1933 October:  The name of the enterprise changed to the Italo-American Broadcasting Company.

1934 August 26:  Company sponsored an Italian-American Day Annual Festival continued until 1940.

1935:  The Fioranis moved to 1302 Bryn Mawr Street, Scranton, and continued to operate the business from their home.  A. Gioia and Brother, manufacturers of Gioia Macaroni Products, signed a one-year contract for a half-hour show on the "Italian-American Variety Program."  This agreement secured the success of the Fioranis' business.

1936:  "Italian-American Variety Program" changed airtime to Sunday afternoons, 2:15-4:00 p.m., on WGBI.  Programs continued primarily in Italian with Italian songs and sketches.

1937 May 2:  Station WGBI joined Columbia Broadcasting System.

1937 May 23:  Station WGBI increased its power from 500 to 1000 watts, the most powerful in the area, according to Fiorani.

1937 June 17:  The Fioranis began broadcasting "The Voice of Italy" on Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:00 p.m., on WBAX in Wilkes-Barre.  (The records do not indicate when this program was discontinued.)

1938 November 13:  The "Italian-American Variety Program" changed time to Sunday mornings, 9:00-10:45 a.m., on WGBI.

1939 August 3:  The Fioranis began broadcasting "The Italian Hour" on Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:00 p.m., on WAZL in Hazelton.

1940 May:  The business moved operations to an office in the Select Building in Scranton.

1940 June:  The Fioranis began broadcasting on Sunday afternoons, 12:00-1:30 p.m., and weekdays, 5:30-6:00 p.m., on WARM in Scranton.

1941:  The Fioranis continued to operate programs on WGBI, WARM, and WAZL totaling 10 hours per week.

1945:  The name of the business was changed to Fiorani Radio Productions.

1946:  The Fioranis moved their operations to Office 409 in the Connell Building in Scranton.  The records show a daily program, Fioranis' "Morning Serenade," 7:00-8:00 a.m., in addition to the "Sunday Serenade" program on WARM.  Songs included both Italian and American tunes and were announced in English.

1947 May:  Broadcasts began on WSCR in Scranton, daily 10:05-11:00 a.m., and Sunday, 12:00-1:45 p.m.  Broadcasting stopped on WARM.  The records provide no information on the programs on WGBI and WAZL.

1949:  Fiorani Radio Productions celebrated their 17th (actually 16th) anniversary with a performance by Carlo Buti.

1952:  The Fioranis broadcast from WCDL, city unknown, weekdays, 10:00-11:00 a.m., and Sunday, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

1952 February 3:  Broadcasts began on WILK in Wilkes-Barre Sundays, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

1953 June 21:  Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. was formed.  Angelo and Rose Fiorani were the major stockholders, along with L. Pagnotti and E. Preate.  Broadcasting hours were from sunrise to sunset daily on station WPTS.  The Operation employed 10-15 people, but family members held the principal positions.  Programming no longer specifically targeted Italian-Americans and now appealed to the general public.

1972 July 17:  Angelo Fiorani died.  Following his death Rose Fiorani became president, and son-in-law Alphonse Castelli took the position of general manager.

1975 January:  The Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. sold station WPTS.


The Fiorani Radio Production Records were donated to the Balch Institute in 1985 by Rose Florey Fiorani.

The papers were arranged and described by Carla Zimmerman under the supervision of Balch Archivist David Sutton, Spring 1986.

The acquisition of this collection and the preparation of the register was made possible in part by a grant from the Division of Research Programs of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent Federal agency.

Separated from this accession are papers and artifacts of Rev. Myron Florey, Monsignor Salvatore Florey, and Dr. Peter Florey, brothers of Rose Fiorani.  These are maintained as a separate collection at the Balch Institute.

Since the original accession in 1985, four additional accessions were made to the Fiorani Radio Productions Records.  They are as follows:  1988 (two boxes), 1991 (six boxes, one scrapbook, and an additional pile of loose ledger sheets), and 1992 (first accession: nine boxes including two boxes of phonograph records; second accession: six boxes and two scrapbooks).  As of this date, none of these materials have been processed.  However, preliminary inventories are available.


The Fiorani Radio Productions Records, 1931-1975, contain 11.5 linear feet of materials documenting Rose and Angelo Fiorani's 42 years in radio broadcasting.  The types of records include correspondence, advertisements, program schedules and scripts, savings passbooks, bills and receipts, tax returns, fan mail, and souvenir programs of special events.  Personal letters, some business correspondence, and a majority of the advertisements are in Italian.  However, many of the advertisements have English translations, and most of the business correspondence is in English.

The advertising account files in Series III make up almost half of the collection.  They include correspondence between the Fioranis and clients, advertisements for the clients' products, and, in a few cases, the client's contracts for airtime.  They reflect one of the most important aspects of ethnic radio broadcasting, namely, the targeting of a specific ethnic audience.  This was accomplished by the language spoken, the entertainment provided, the rhetoric used, and often the types of goods and services advertised.  The advertising account files also provide information on both the sales approaches that the Fioranis used and on other business interactions.  The latter material is perhaps of equal importance in understanding the nature of ethnic radio and the uses of broadcasting at the time.

The programming schedules and sketches in Series IV span the years from 1935 to 1951 and depict the early orientation toward Italian-Americans.  The records also reveal a gradual change from this exclusive appeal to one that includes a general audience.  Early programming in the 1930's consisted of Italian music broadcast live, with Italian-American artists and an orchestra conducted by an Italian maestro.  During the 1940s the Fioranis began using recorded songs and included American and Latin American tunes.  Varying types of music were designated by the clients for their products.  For example, at least one military song was played during each Planters Nut and Chocolate Company program, and Torino Brand Products sponsored three Carlo Buti tunes on Sundays in 1944.  By the 1940s, introductions were made in English, and Italian and Spanish song titles were translated.

Apart from the business of radio broadcasting, the records show the Fioranis' use of personal contacts and radio resources to promote various community organizations to which they belonged.  The Fioranis' often provided airtime for announcing events of civic and religious groups.  As chairman of the Scranton Civic Opera Guild, Angelo Fiorani arranged performance engagements using connections made through radio programming.  These files and the souvenir programs of the Italian-American festivals in Series VI provide a kind of register of prominent Italians in the Scranton area.

The records for the earlier years of the business are marked by a predominance of advertising and programming material but contain relatively few significant financial records.  The opposite holds true for the later years.  This imbalance may, in part, reflect the difference between the earlier live broadcasting, which necessitated written programs, versus the later use of recorded messages and entertainment and ad-lib monologue.  These gaps hinder a complete reconstruction of the changes in Fiorani Radio Productions over time.


Over ninety percent of the collection was on highly acidic pulp paper.  For conservation purposes, these items were photocopied onto acid-free, bond paper, and the originals were discarded.


Manuscript materials related to Fiorani Radio Productions Records include the Vincent Russoniello Papers at the Balch Institute Library.  For information on the history of radio broadcasting see: Erik Barnouw,  A History of Broadcasting in the United States. 3 vols. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 1966-1970.


The Fiorani Radio Productions Records are organized into eight series which reflect the operations of the broadcasting business and the couple's activities in the community.  The series are: General Papers, Financial Records, Advertising Accounts, Programming, Fan Mail, Special Projects, Midway Broadcasting Company, Personal Papers, and Ephemera.  Arrangement within each series varies according to record type and is described below.

SERIES I:  GENERAL PAPERS 1933-1959, 2 1/2 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: correspondence is arranged chronologically.  Other files are grouped according to subject and relative importance.

This series contains background information on the basic operation of the Fioranis' business.  The general correspondence file includes letters that do not directly relate to advertising, fan mail, or special projects.  In this folder are miscellaneous inquiries and correspondence on such topics as competitors, talent, transcriptions, personnel, and gasoline rationing.  A newspaper article dated 1947 announces the Fiorani's new broadcasts on WSCR and briefly mentions their accomplishments.  Angelo Fiorani's account of the Italo-American Broadcasting Company and the changes that occurred over time is presented in a talk at a career forum in 1947.

SERIES II:  FINANCIAL PAPERS 1933-1959, 10 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: chronological.

Financial records for the first two decades of the Fioranis' venture are few and consist predominantly of bills and receipts.  Other items are a passbook and canceled checks of the Italian Reveries Broadcasting Company and a passbook from the first three years of the Italo-American Broadcasting Company.

SERIES IV:  PROGRAMMING, 1935-1956, 1 1/2 linear feet, 4 boxes.  Arrangement: files are arranged according to subject.  There is an approximate chronological order within subjects.

The majority of records in this series is schedules ("music continuities") for programs between 1937 and 1951.  The remaining files include comic and dramatic sketches, political speeches and announcements, and correspondence between the Fioranis and the station managers

SERIES V:  FAN MAIL, 1933-1953, 5 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: chronological.

Series V contains letters and postcards from listeners, most requesting songs for special occasions.

SERIES III:  ADVERTISING ACCOUNTS 1933-1952, 4 1/2 linear feet, 11 boxes.  Arrangement: folders are arranged alphabetically by advertising client.  Correspondence and advertisements within these folders are arranged chronologically.  Other files are grouped by subject.

This series contains files on advertising clients for the first ten years of the Fioranis' business.  Included in these files are correspondence to and from Fiorani, advertisements for the product or service, and occasionally printed materials.  The amount of correspondence and advertisements varies from company to company.  In addition to files on advertising clients, one folder contains correspondence between the Fioranis and prospective clients for the years 1934-1943, 1946.

SERIES VI:  SPECIAL PROJECTS, 1933-1953, 5 inches, 1 box.  Arrangement: approximately chronological by project.  Within each project's folder, items are grouped as follows: correspondence, publicity, financial, and souvenir programs.

This series holds files on events and performances sponsored by the Fioranis' broadcasting company.  Projects include Italian-American outdoor festivals, presentations of Italian movies, trips to Rome and other areas in Italy, and performances by the Blind Concert Artist and the Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour in 1949.

SERIES VII:  MIDWAY BROADCASTING COMPANY, 1953-1975, 10 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: files are arranged by type of financial record.  Within each category, folders are arranged chronologically, except for the advertising accounts, which are alphabetical by advertising client.

This series contains records of the Midway Broadcasting Company, a corporation separate from the Fioranis' other radio ventures.  Almost all are financial records covering the life of the operation.  They include annual reports to the Federal Communications Commission, financial statements, tax returns, payroll accounts, and advertising accounts.  Non-financial items include fan mail and a newspaper advertisement.  Daily program logs and daily transmitter logs are oversize and are located in Box 26.

SERIES VIII:  PERSONAL PAPERS, 1931-1953, 7 inches, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: files are arranged alphabetically by organization.  Items within the folders are arranged chronologically.

This series holds correspondence and other items related to the various ethnic, civic, fraternal, welfare, religious, and musical organizations to which the Fioranis belonged.  Over half of these records are of the Scranton Civic Opera Guild.  Angelo Fiorani was general chairman and Rose Fiorani's brother, Msgr. Salvatore Florey, was the honorary chairman of the organization for several years.  The Fioranis were also involved in the local Mothers' Assistance Fund, the Scranton Diocesan Council of the National Council of Catholic Women, and the Victor Alfieri Literary Society.  Few records exist for these organizations.

SERIES IX:  EPHEMERA; 1934-1949, 1970-1971, undated; 2 1/4 linear feet, 2 boxes.  Arrangement: files are arranged according to subject and relative importance.

This grouping contains miscellaneous items which are indirectly related to the Fioranis' business and organizational activities.  The material includes printed material on competing broadcasting companies, programs of concerts and dinners attended by the Fioranis, and mailing lists.  Also in this series are oversize materials such as the daily program and daily transmitter logs, broadsides, newspaper clippings, and theater seating charts.

The box list of the Register of the Records of Fiorani Radio Productions is twenty pages long and is available upon request.  The preliminary inventories of the subsequent additions to the collection total fifteen pages in length.  The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping and handling.